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How Google’s Latest Announcements Impact Your Website | February 2019

New year, new Google?

Not really. But, with a new year comes a lot of potentially powerful updates that you or your marketing team should be aware of in order to stay on top of your online presence. If you’re anything like us you’re probably trying to predict the next Google rollout, which is sometimes a bit tricky. You can, however, see that Google is trending in a pretty dominant direction on a few things, so we can safely say that two words should really be at the top of your wish list for online marketing: security and content

Search Console adds a security issues section in their “new” version. 

We’ll be honest, the new search console has been a tough pill to swallow. Anytime you get used to something and then the overall layout changes you naturally feel a bit of a shock. With that said, you can tell that Google is making strides (as always) to reinforce the idea that security is of the utmost importance. Plus, for those of us that really loved the old search console, they’re telling us that all features will be migrated over, with a few new ones making their way down the pipeline. For that we can definitely give a big THANKS to Google. 

Google Logo

What does this mean for your healthcare website? 

If you’ve never used search console before, this is probably a foreign language. But, here’s a quick rundown. Basically, search console is designed to help you or your marketing folks figure out how and why your website is performing the way it is. This can include tracking clicks and impressions, or looking at various issues like 404 errors or, in this case, security. Your site should be designed with security in mind from top to bottom, meaning HTTPS, secure patient forms, and a strong server. Search console will be able to detect any type of malware, hacking issues, or social engineering that could be disastrous to your website. Overall, if you’ve got a strong marketing team behind you, you should be looking at this data each and every month regardless as it will give healthy insight into what’s working and what isn’t. Make sure you’re taking the time to fully digest and correct any issues so that they don’t fester and get too out of control. 

Google will slowly make voice search results more obvious on SERPs.

Remember how Pavlov trained his dogs? Well, that’s essentially what Google is doing with voice search by conditioning users to to utilize the voice search feature. At some point it’s just going to happen and you won’t even realize you’re doing it. But, let’s face it, isn’t that what’s happened with online searching and mobile phone usage overall? While you could already do a voice search on the web, Google is now making them more blatantly obvious by adding microphone icons and spoken results that are a bit more practical while you’re driving or don’t have your hands free at the moment. 

What does this mean for your healthcare website?

Content, content, content. In 2016, Google said that 20 percent of mobile queries were voice search. By this point, you all know that those stats change quickly, so we’re gathering that it’s a much larger percentage today. We know that desktop and mobile ranking are separated, and that you absolutely need a responsive site, but now you must start to put emphasis on how well your content ranks. This doesn’t mean you should create the most technical jargon possible so you can look smarter than the other doctors, but rather focus on the other technical parts such as schema and snippets. Make sure that your content is readable and follows the principles by which Google’s algorithm works. In doing so, you’ll be more actively ranked and begin to become the thought leader for a given search or topic. AKA, you want that real estate as soon as possible! If you’re feeling inspired, learn more about how to develop strong content

Google Posts aren’t thriving, but they’re not dead yet. 

We can keep this one short and sweet. First, GMB (Google My Business) is one of the most important ranking factors for your site, and can account for a ton of conversions. Second, there are features that go underutilized in GMB, one of which is a Google Post. When they first were rolled out, posts were a hot item with various companies touting them as the next strong ranking signal. However, in recent months the strength of posts has declined and they’ve been pushed towards the bottom of the knowledge panel. 

What does this mean for your healthcare website? 

Keep doing them, but make sure you’re using the right CTAs and strong content. Don’t just throw up a post and expect it to perform amazing without any sort of thought behind it. Instead, use a sort of campaign style method when developing posts and maybe switch them up every few weeks or month. Then, users get intrigued by your posts and use them as a tool to go to your website or convert from the GMB listing itself. Use that power behind your GMB profile!

Bonus: DuckDuckGo continues to grow.   

It’s not Google, but they’re sure trying to play ball. In fact, the latest statistics show that they’re gaining on some of Bing’s metrics which is rather impressive. This is another statistic to help reinforce the idea that security is important! People flock to DuckDuckGo due to its strict nature of privacy, which means the general public is becoming more and more aware. 

What does this mean for your healthcare website? 

As of this point, we wouldn’t be too concerned about DuckDuckGo, but it certainly should be something you and your marketers are thinking about. Just like Bing and Yahoo, there’s a reason to give it some attention as it’s a potential lead source, despite the small nature of it. Out of those 9 billion searches, we’re certain that just a few of them were healthcare related. The best course of action here is to continue to monitor your analytics and find out where your traffic is coming from. Should you see a spike in this source, put some attention on it and make sure your rankings are in tact. While there aren’t sure-fire techniques to get ranking with DuckDuckGo, there are certainly ways to build on it!

Stay on top of the most recent updates with Practis!

If you’ve broken your resolutions, we’ll give you a chance to start a new one and focus on making your website the best it can be with us. Contact us today to learn more about the things we’ve mentioned above and even more. We’ll help you get on track to a strong, secure online presence that can help your practice or group generate more patients.